Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Stormy Day.....But What A Day!...27.10.12.

Male Snow Bunting.

Approaching Hail storm.

Stormy sea.
With the forecast looking good and heavy rain and a north easterly wind overnight,Dave and myself headed for the Spurn area again,what a great decision as we had a fantastic days birding.We started proceedings looking at the sea,talk about windy,as there was no room in the hide,we sheltered behind the quickly disappearing cliff below the Warren and had to endure several rain and hail showers,but it was well worth it.The main highlights seen were at least 13 Little Auk,battling their way back north and this included a party of five birds passing by just over the breakers,allowing us to enjoy some cracking views of this arctic waif.This is one of the commonest birds in the world and is always affected after strong northerly winds and pushed into the north sea.Other notable birds seen during our seawatch included a pair of Scaup north,23 Eider north,single Red-breasted Merg,south,a Short-eared Owl in off the sea,Arctic and Great Skuas south and hundreds of Kittiwakes moving south also.Nearby and as we walked away from our seawatching spot,a male Snow Bunting gave superb,close views,a cracking little bird.After enjoying the Snow Bunt,we went to look to see if the Jack-Snipe was showing on Canal Scrape,but after a good look we didn't see it,but enjoyed nice views of a 1st winter Ring Ouzel.As often happens at Spurn a report came over the radio that a Short-toed Lark had been found down the point near post 52,so we walked down as quick as we could as the road had been closed due to a breach of the road the night before.As i suspected,we got to the area were the bird had been seen and there was not only no bird to be seen,but no one else looking...buggar.Birds seen in the area and on the walk back included another 1st winter type Ring Ouzel,several flocks of freshly arriving Fieldfares and Redwings,2 Little Auk flying off the Humber side of the peninsula and back onto the sea and a male Stonechat watched battling against the wind,spending most of his time foraging on the ground,as the species often does.So after a knackering yomp,we went back to the Canal scrape for a rest and something to eat and this time enjoyed stunning views of a Jack-Snipe feeding close to the hide and in the open.It was great to study the cryptic plumage of this Scandinavian visitor,as majority of the views birders normally gain of this species are as they fly away from your feet,a very nice bird.We then travelled the short distance over to Kilnsea cliff to look for the Purple Sand i had seen on Thursday and there it was with it's Turnstone cousins allowing great views,but this was cut short as another stinging hailstone shower passed over,a feature of today on several occasions.After hearing that the Great-grey Shrike had been seen at nearby Easington we decided to go and have a look,en route stopping at Easington churchyard to enjoy some nice views of a male and female Black Redstart watched feeding on the rooftop of an adjacent ruined building.Also here,was a single male Brambling watched feeding on the ground nearby,also showing well.All of a sudden,in typical Spurn fashion as earlier,a message came over the radio that an Olive-backed Pipit had just been found at nearby Sammy's Point,we dashed to the car and travelled as quick as we could to the car park.On arrival and after hearing off the local guys,it quickly transpired that there were 2 birds.Over the next hour or so we got flight views of firstly one bird and then 2 together on several occasions,amazing stuff and we eventually got cracking views of one bird perched in a hawthorn fantastic!!.Also seen in the area was a single female Ring Ouzel and an unidentified Acro warbler which i flushed from a ditch.With the sun starting to go down we finished the day watching the superb Great-grey Shrike as it perched in a hawthorn,before it disappeared into the middle of the hawthorn to no doubt roost.What a great end to an excellent day,with some great company and a big thanks to Dave for driving.


  1. bill,,(william )hill28 October 2012 at 21:19

    Somehow it sounds so familiar steve,deja vu almost, great write up,,